The event was held on a wide and picturesque stretch of the Thames between Whitchurch and Mapledurham locks. It was very well attended by paddlers from all over the country, and an army of volunteers ensured that everything ran according to plan. The organisers are to be congratulated for providing excellent temporary facilities on an open field site, even the deteriorating weather conditions only made a half-hearted effort to spoil things before the sun came out again.
The course was a simple circuit, the portage a long grass run with plenty of options for getting out and in. Those who ran well chose to run the whole length, the others picked a shorter option. The start was well handled, the river wide enough to take (almost) 50 boats and races got away to very fair starts in most cases.
The only real criticism of the event would be that too many races were fielded at once in some cases. The result being that some paddlers, Juniors in particular, had to fight their way through a huge field of veteran adults which started in front of them. There was inevitably wash-hanging on boats in other classes, the races were not entirely fair and did not necessarily reflect the same result as a race started with the fastest classes going first.
- Might there be a case for the Marathon Committee to come up with an official start list for this event?
Most racing was in age groups, and Elmbridge fielded a team mainly of juniors likely to be competitive in their class.
There were many very good performances,
but as far as success and medals go,
The Under 16 Junior Women were stars of the show.
ELISE PIERCY AND JENNY WITHERS took
1st and 3rd respectively in the K1 : together, 1st in K2
(Finishing 1.1/2 minutes ahead of the second boat)
In the Under 14 Junior Women Becky Solway was 4th in K1
Then partnered by Bex Shantry took 3rd in K2
Sam Rees-Clarke (paddling for Basingstoke) is also one of our members, and distinguished herself by
winning both the K1 and K2 in
Under 18 junior womens races.
Amy Ward, our main contender for this event and an almost certain winner for this class was unwell and didn’t race.
WELL DONE GIRLS!
The boys races had much bigger fields, some of our paddlers having to start in line-up of 50 boats… for instance the U16 Boys K1.
UNDER 16 Junior Boys:
This race was dominated by the Longridge crew of Gregory/Harding who finishes 2 minutes ahead of the rest of the field, and had already taken 3rd place in the Under 18 race in the morning session. Quite a hard act to follow !
K1 Luke Bowyer 14th Stefano de Gregorio 15th
K2 Luke Bowyer & Kayne Wilkinson 4th Eliot Solway & Stefano deGregorio 10th
UNDER 18 JUNIOR BOYS:
Bruce Jones did well to take 4th place in K1, but hot on his tail was Ross McMullen taking 6th and Harry in 11th.
In K2 Bruce paired up with James Misssen from Bradford, coming 4th. Harry and Ross were 6th.
As previously mentioned, most of our senior paddlers were conspicuous in their absence, but our two representatives in the Mens K1 Michael Goodall and Phillip Thorogood both put up good performances. The start of these top class races can be fearsome .. this was no different ! Both our paddlers got away well and held their own as the leaders broke loose from the pack. They held on well for the first lap but gradually the 5 lap race separated into GB Marathon Team contenders and “the others”. Mike eventually finished in 8th place and Phil in 11th , good results from a field of 30 starters.
Thanks to all the parents who did a good job on supporting their offspring and gave up their weekend to transport and back–up our team.